White Day: A Labyrinth Named School (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: SONNORI Corp
Publisher: PQube Limited, SONNORI Corp
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Android, iOS
Tested on: Switch

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School (Switch) – Review

Site Score
Good: Unsettling horror experience that still holds up
Bad: Awkward console controls
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Although White Day: A Labyrinth Named School has a two-decade history behind it, there is a decent chance that you’ve never heard of the game unless you’re a diehard survival horror fan. The game debuted on PC in Korea back in 2001, under the title RR, before being remade for mobile devices in 2015. Two years later, that mobile remake was ported to PC and PS4, but it failed to make a real impact on the mainstream audience. Publisher PQube decided to give White Day another lease on life by bringing the game to Xbox, Switch, and PS5 this year. Fourth time’s the charm?


The concept of ‘white day’ isn’t something that most people in the West are familiar with, so a quick explanation may be in order, as it is essential to understanding the main character’s motivation. In various Asian countries, including Japan and Korea, white day is celebrated on the 14th of March, exactly one month after Valentine’s day. In these countries, the Valentine’s day tradition is that girls confess to the boy they like, and on white day, boys give gifts to their crushes to indicate whether these feelings are mutual. Our story begins on the eve of white day, as Han So-Young, a schoolgirl, accidentally forgets her diary on a bench in the school park. The diary is found by Hee-Min Lee, a student who happens to have a crush on So-Young. Lee sees this as an opportunity and decides to sneak into the school at night to place the forgotten diary on So-Young’s desk, alongside a white day gift for her. Lee’s nightly visit may not have been his best idea, however, as the school’s corridors are littered with wicked spirits as well as a pair of murderous janitors. What caused these ghosts to appear? How can Lee get rid of them? And why are there other students in the school at this hour? There’s only one way to find out…


Given that this version of White Day is a seven-year-old remake of a twenty-year-old game, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the visuals are dated. Character animations aren’t as fluid as they could be, especially when it comes to some of the ghosts, which are pretty much static images that float around. Janky animations aside, the game doesn’t look too bad, thanks to the above-average art direction and the clever decision to have much of the game take place in darkness. This essentially hides a lot of the lack of detail. The character designs are decent and there are several fun outfits available both for the students and the janitors if you want to change things up. You could, for example, opt to dress up the entire cast in Christmas attire, with the janitors wearing reindeer suits. A particularly nice touch was that the original character models from the 2001 release were available as skins as well.


While we weren’t particularly impressed with White Day’s visuals, the soundscape was a different matter altogether. This is a game where we cannot recommend headphones enough. Not just because the constant tapping of rain on the windows and the understated soundtrack really help with immersion but because sound effects actively tie into some of the gameplay mechanics. Your ears are your best defense against the janitors that patrol the various hallways of the school, and not hearing them sneak up on you could mean the difference between life and death.


Back in 2001, when White Day originally debuted in Korea, it was considered a revolutionary title. It was one of the first survival horror games that required players to avoid enemies and hide from them rather than use weapons. Back then, it was considered “too scary” by many, and although the concept isn’t as unique as it used to be, the game still holds up today. The aim of White Day is to put the spirits that plague the school to rest by solving puzzles. Once this is done, things return to normal, and Lee is free to leave the school. By breaking up the genuinely unsettling first-person stealth gameplay with clever puzzles, White Day avoids feeling monotonous despite being a very slow-paced game. Add to this that there are several difficulty levels and eight different endings, and you’re looking at a title with quite a bit of replayability as well. Despite this, some of White Day’s horror impact is lost on subsequent playthroughs, so we recommend going in blind on your first run, even if some of the trickier puzzles may require the aid of a walkthrough.

Progressing through the main story is directly tied to solving these puzzles, although many of these are optional and will unlock additional content. It’s impossible to see everything in a single playthrough too, as the story branches depending on interactions with other students, and whether or not you see certain puzzles is tied to these story branches. The puzzles themselves are solid but not particularly innovative. Many of the puzzles require you to gather documents with cryptic clues before you’re able to tackle them. Once you’ve done so, you’ll find yourself presented with logic puzzles that see you arrange medals, for example, or find the right locker combination. We did have to resort to an online walkthrough for a handful of puzzles that were clearly aimed at people familiar with Japanese kanji, but the majority of what we were presented with was accessible enough.

The ghosts that you encounter in White Day don’t really pose a threat apart from the occasional jumpscare. Your real enemies are the murderous janitors that prowl the hallways. By modern standards, the encounters with these bloodthirsty custodians aren’t all that impressive in terms of gameplay mechanics, but that doesn’t make them any less nerve-wracking. We found ourselves constantly wary of the sound of keys jingling, ready to hide in a bathroom stall or create a distraction. Of note is that the janitors don’t “pause” while you’re solving puzzles, so you need to be on your toes at all times. Getting caught by a janitor doesn’t necessarily mean instant death, but healing items are rare enough that every encounter matters, even if you escape. You’ll need to buy these items using coins that are hidden around the school. However, due to where coins are located, looking for them increases the chance of getting caught by a janitor, so there is a fine risk-reward balance at play here.

A single playthrough of White Day should take most people roughly eight hours, although with four difficulty levels and eight different endings available, it’s easy to squeeze more time out of the game. Of note is that the two easier difficulty levels offer additional gameplay mechanics, including a map that shows where you should head next and if any janitors are nearby. The irony here is of course that if you decide to play the game on Normal difficulty on your first try, you’ll feel lost as you don’t know where to head next. However, if you give the game a try on Easy difficulty first, then you’re familiar with the layout of the building on subsequent runs. The same can’t be said for the puzzles, as the solution to these is randomized wherever possible. This even applies to the same run if you die. The game lacks an autosave function and limits saving manually by tying this to consumable items, similar to Resident Evil’s save system. This means that there is a good chance that you’ll have to repeat puzzles when reloading a previous save file after dying.

While we can’t vouch for the PlayStation or Xbox versions of White Day, we can say that the Switch version’s control scheme isn’t entirely perfect. The game is played with a cursor, which is often awkward when you’re using a controller, and moving it around can feel clunky, especially if you’re trying to interact with the smaller items in some of the puzzles. While you can adjust cursor sensitivity in the game’s settings, we never found the right balance and couldn’t shake the feeling that the game would be more enjoyable with a mouse and keyboard instead. The Switch version is perfectly playable as is, but a bit more polish when it comes to the game’s controls could have elevated White Day from a good horror game to a great one.


Although White Day feels undeniably dated, there are still plenty of thrills to be found here. The ever-looming threat of the janitors, the fantastic soundscape, and the challenging puzzles hold up over two decades after they were originally conceived. An update to the visuals would have been welcome, and the console controls could have used some finetuning, but overall, White Day successfully stands the test of time and is definitely worth checking out.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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White Day: A Labyrinth Named School (Switch) - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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